The road is narrow. Full of twists and turns.
And notifications from my GPS that I’ve gone off the charted route.
What a freaking metaphor for LIFE!
I come to a spot described in the directions, but can’t remember if I am supposed to continue down the road or not. I pull over and double check…
I could easily turn around here and head home. No one would even know…
That ease in my anxiety didn’t last. At this spot I realize just how close I am to it all.
If I continue on the next face I see will be that of a stranger. Probably several strangers. And yet, they will intimately know things about me…like what it feels like to have a hypo. What it means to bolus. And THAT is as scary as it is comforting. And so my anxiety starts to climb…again.
In general, we are taught to keep our feelings to ourselves (thankfully, more and more society is embracing being open about them). We are encouraged to shelter others from our illnesses (whatever it/they may be). For some reason, their feelings are thought of as more important than those of the person feeling unwell. Which seems like such a cruel consideration.
And we are taught that our illness makes us different. Which it does, HOWEVER, there is often – if not always – an echo of negativity attached to that difference. Yet, if I continue down the road (after double, perhaps, triple checking the directions, I now know I am supposed to go passed the sign that says not to) I will find everyone to be the same…in fact, part of the draw of this weekend away is the lack of difference between the participants.
I rejoin the road. A few more twists and turns, then I arrive at the camp’s parking lot. Here I am told, in the pouring rain, that we are to walk in to the camp. And check in.
I immediately regret that gigantic suitcase of mine, and all that I packed.
Without introductions there is immediate comradery bewtween the handful of us trekking to the main lodge. Here we are greeted by friendly faces, brimming with excitement. It is welcomed. And incredibly overwhelming.
A few logistics out of the way and I am free to go collect the rest of my things from the car. In the pouring rain.
Should I just run back, jump in the car and leave? Would they even notice I am gone? Will they even notice I am here? So many people seem to know each other, they have a familiarity amongst them I simply cannot relate to. I’m flying solo. If I even stay…
To guarantee my attendance (and make my trip back to/from the car easier), I pop by my cabin and make a drop; I quickly make my bed, and free up a bag that I can now use to “shop my suitcase” once I am back at the car. The walk is lengthened by the cold air and chilly rain. I pass a few more happy, unfamiliar faces on my way.
When I return to the cabin I no longer regreat bringing all the stuff. A fellow camper is unwell. Her glucose is high. There are a few campers assisting. I jump in and offer up my Ketostix, a box of tissues and a can of DIET gingerale. She is really not feeling well, and they make alternate arrangements for her.
I miss out on the Camp Tour and help relocate the young woman to another cabin.
Truthfully, I didn’t mind missing the tour. It bought me a bit more time to adjust, to try and ease my anxiety. Helping other people distracts me from me. Plus, I’ve always been good in a crisis, able to jump in and be of assistance (or take on the leadership role, if necessary).
So I’m guess I’m here to stay.
For the weekend.